Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Pessimistic Optimist

It’s been awhile, people, and for that, I’m sorry.  But, alas, I am here!  I took a brief hiatus from the web life to upgrade my real life.  Here’s the good news on my side.  I got a new job at Chi Chi, where I am a shift supervisor.  For those not in the retail “know”, that puts me somewhere between a sales associate and a manager.  Woot woot to moving up in the retail hell food chain.  But unfortunately that mean that I have higher expectations in terms of sales.  No more slacking off.

The top I bought from Chi Chi for my first day of work. It'll allow me to maintain my homeless-chic look.

I also started classes in my Master’s program.  In case I never mentioned it, I’m getting a master of arts in teaching, which means that I’m a student until next May, at which point I will be released into the world to educate future generations of Americans.  Be afraid, be very afraid.  So in the two weeks I’ve had classes I have noticed a continuous trend in my peers, one that disturbs me deeply.  They are all optimistic pessimists.

Let me backtrack a moment and explain.  I’m sarcastic, blunt, and snarky.  When a person initially meets me they may be under the impression that I am a pessimist.  This is untrue.  I generally believe most people are good and do things with the best intentions in mind.  This usually works in my favour, though sometimes it can be a smack in the face when the random occasion comes around that I get taken advantage of.  With that in mind I have to say it’s one thing to be optimistic and a whole other thing to be naive.  I think that as a future educator I will be able to impart change on the community and surrounding area I’ll work in, but I don’t believe I’m going to change the world.  Sorry, but I have to be honest.  Most teachers do not create radical difference.  Some do, but very few can start a movement worth mentioning.  Additionally, as a teacher, you have to be realistic.  If you walk in the classroom the first day thinking that you will get every child into the best colleges and they’ll grow old with cushy jobs, you’re going to be disappointed very fast and burn out even faster.  It’s only fair to yourself to walk into a school knowing that most kids will absorb your knowledge and then move on.  And there will be students you never reach.  The kids that just don’t give a shit.  My classmates look at me like I’m insane and see me as being pessimistic, but there’s a difference between a pessimist and a realist.

This is the man version of me. Does THIS look like a pessimist to you?

My peers in the M.A.T (Master of Arts in Teaching) program are the ones who are pessimistic.  If you look at the US education system there are some major gaping holes in terms of how effective it is.  But compared to most other countries in the world, we’re doing pretty well.  These people that I’m in class with, they have a very negative view of the world.  They see it as something they need to change, not alter.  They want to gut the system, radically.  I find it funny that the people who think today’s youth are in desperate need of help think I’m the pessimist.  They put on a smiley face and talk about all the change they’re going to enact, but underneath that shit-eating-grin there’s a frown.  They’re the pessimists and they are trying to be optimistic about what they ultimately see as a bleak future unless they do something drastic.  Me, on the other hand, well, I think things are ok (not great, but ok) and that with incremental measures things will get better.

Who the pessimist now?

Anyway…

I’m scraping to make rent this month due to my meek wages in January, but hopefully this new job will be a cash cow.  I plan on making myself dal every day for the next two weeks as it costs almost nothing to make.  Essentially, it’s the less lazy person’s ramen.  Stay tuned for my awesome dal recipe.  I promise you’ll make it and then proceed to drool everywhere.  Something that I must share with ya’ll is that for my one and only elective I am taking English and my professor looks like a heroine-chic Ernest Hemingway.  I could not ask for more.

So H-A-W-T! J/k...but only sort of

And finally, a question I pose to you, my brilliant readers:
Does anyone know how to add volume to sad flat hair in the winter.  My hair looks like schiesse (that’s shit in German!).

And I leave you with a song.  I expect you to dance around your house/apartment to this (just like I’m doing right now).  I also highly encourage you to get the The Knocks’ EP on itunes.  So worth it:


Indulge in Some Joy

In one of my last posts I mentioned that I would be interviewing the founder/artistic talent behind Francesca Joy Palm Beach and I can now present to you, my lovely readers, that interview.  Elise Francesca is a friend of mine from college.  We used to run cross country together and I can honestly say that she is someone who dreams big.  We used to talk books, music, and boys as we ran through the woods waiting for our coach to whip by us on a bicycle and I remember during our freshman year she showed me her artwork.  It’s funny, but I never would have predicted that she’d start a wildly beautiful business, one that is gaining in popularity every week.  I’m really happy that she’s made something out of just an idea.  That’s really hard nowadays and taking that seedling of an idea and bringing it to fruition is really amazing.  Perhaps the thing I find most interesting about Elise is that she decided to drop out of one of the best colleges in the country to pursue a dream.  This is a huge risk.  But she succeeded.  One of the reasons I felt it necessary to interview her was because I tout this blog as being a common ground for people in the post college abyss, but I don’t believe academia is the only way to make a career and a life with your talents.  Elise is a prime example of someone who knew what they wanted and dove in, head first.  But I’ll shut up now and let her tell you about her experiences in the real world.

The woman behind the brushes, Elise Francesca

1) I remember in college you used to show me paintings and sketches that you worked on.  When and how did you get the idea to turn that art into something commercial?

I always wanted to develop something that was wanted.  Something that brought people to another place, another mindset, something that reminded them of something from the past, or even something unrecognizable that they could instantly understand.  It’s complicated, I suppose.  Paintings and sketches are ideas, and bringing that idea to fruition is a choice: to share or not  to share with the world. Color is universal, but means something kind of different to everyone, and I wanted to give these ideas in my head life.  It’s like writing, you know, you translate those ideas/thoughts in your head to paper.  That’s the “creative” side of the choice, the business side of the choice is making money, and marketing a product/concept strategically within the context/boundaries of the time which you live.  We live in an insane time.  Sometimes I hate it, and sometimes I love it. We’re a generation picking up pieces and constantly recycling, making old new again, but once we run out of the old, the retro, it’s time we make something that speaks about us, thousands of years from now.

Ciao, a painting by Elise

2) Was it easy to go from making art to making a print for fabric?
I wouldn’t say it was easy, on the technical end.  I had to do a lot of research, and speak to people in the industry on what the best route was.  I consciously chose to go the “green” way and seek out the highest quality fabrics, made in America, that are sustainable.  It’s progressive.  Stella McCartney is a great example of this. Fabric, however, was always my intention.  I wanted my audience (you must always create your audience)  to come to me, yes, but you must shape who you are and they then decide if they want to fit your mold.  That’s up to them. I wanted them to feel happy and like my designs- the paintings- and then I hoped that if I printed fabric, they’d want to wear it.  I don’t know how I feel about fashion, really.  It’s perhaps a love-hate thing, because I don’t consider myself nor do I consider my goals “trendy”.  I believe in the power of expression and art through garments.  I chose to view it as a form of entertainment because it’s not as boring.  People in fashion aren’t really risk takers because they all do the same thing.  It’s as though everyone has one big closet, so we all look the same.  Fabrics and garments should be a show of their own.
They should never be dead.

Sick of your boyfriend's sad boring ties? Brighten up his style with a tie (or bowtie!) from Francesca Joy

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from?  And which artists have the most impact on your work?
I draw my inspiration from music, mostly.  Fashion photographers help, too.  I love ads. They are captivating. O’Keefe, some Andy Warhol, and Matisse.  I like Southwestern influences for color, too.
4) I’ve noticed you often name prints and designs after musical artists and songs.  What role does music play in your artwork?
Music is everything to me.  I am not musical as a person, however my brother, dad and uncle are all very talented musicians.  It defines the direction of which I wish to take the colors in my art and fashion.  How to make the sound of an electric guitar come through in a combination of hot pink, orange, and lemon-lime.  It’s a crazy chemical mix of the senses and feelings.  Rock and Roll, and Fashion should always be married.

This print, Mrs. Robinson, would make Simon and Garfunkel jealous.

5) I love the vibrant colours that bring life to your work.  But having grown up in New England that’s not always what people go to first when selecting a colour palette for their wardrobes.  So what gave you the idea to combine New England prep and Palm Beach colours?
New England Prep plus the Palm Beach colors is like the vacation for New Englanders.  From a marketing point of view, it’s taking the concept of resort with what you know, what you were brought up with.  I went to a boarding school in Connecticut, and when you’re kind of ‘trapped’ in the walls of a campus on wintry, blah days up north it provides you with the spark to start dreaming of other places.  Maybe it’s somewhere exotic, or maybe it’s Southern California.  Palm Beach and New England are a given, easily combined. The winter and summer versions of each other via wardrobe. But the New England background gave me a desire to want to create sunshine, and vibrant color.  

This is my personal favourite tote. It has a map of CT (Yay home state!) in bright Palm Beach colours and a sailboat. Perfection!

6) Do you think a college education is necessary?  What if someone, like yourself, has a talent that can’t necessarily be nurtured in college?  What do you feel you gained from attending Mount Holyoke College versus what you learned when working in “the real world”?
Without higher education, I would not have known that college wasn’t for me.  I gained the wisdom while at Mount Holyoke College to stand on my own two feet and take a risk.  If I lose, I lose.  But a risk is a risk.  I gained the most amazing friendships and bonds from college, especially at MHC.  Being around the most academic and disciplined young people is contagious.  But you have to apply that to you personally.  The real world is the real world- no grades, just your reputation and the definitive choices that make up that time-line of your life.  You are never safe, and you face yourself whether you want to or not.  I make mistakes everyday, and that’s how I learn.  The failures and the competitors.  They are the teachers.

It may be winter, but summer can decorate your phone all year!

7) Take me through a few milestone moments in the history of Francesca Joy.  What were the struggles and obstacles that you had to overcome as well as the celebratory moments that made it all worth it?
The biggest struggle is starting a business with no money.  I started FJ with the dollars I saved on paintings I sold.  I started it with just believing in my concepts and the movement of fashion & art.  The celebratory moments: being featured only a few months into starting my business as Top 5 South Floridian Designers to watch in 2011 by Boca Mag, being on AOL/Luxist, the first 3 months in.  The response has been kind of surreal. That’s the fun part.

8) What values would you say embrace the core concepts of Francesca Joy?
Fashion can be selfish.  I never want Francesca Joy to be associated with that behavior.  If we can give back at the end of the day, then we’ve done a good job.  The core concepts boil down to that.  We can try to do all these great things while we’re on earth, but we have to help each other. That’s why I started our fundraiser with water.org .  I clearly don’t have millions of dollars, but with the money I have from some of the totes and products, the smallest amount we donate really makes a difference.
On the art side of things, the values I stick with is to always be unique and true to my style.  You can’t make everyone happy.  You have to be yourself and the way you draw something or design something is you- the best mirror.  I won’t change that, and I won’t copy anyone.

Want to treat yourself? Get a silk dress. I promise you, it feels like love caressing your skin.

9) What is your proudest moment so far?
The customers, walking around with FRANCESCA JOY.  It was an idea, that they can now wear.  I’m proud that they are happy.  It’s about making them smile.  It will always be that way for me.
10) What’s next for Francesca Joy PB?  Any new products you are looking to expand into?  And what about the art, is there anything new we can look forward to?
We’re working on bow ties, and possibly custom sandals, which is exciting.  Someday we’ll do swimwear.  I have a million ideas for bikinis! Hopefully some home inteirors. The prints are marketable, and there’s something for everyone.
I wish for the art to progress naturually, and take customers, fans, and admirers into a different place.  I want them to feel like they’ve never seen it before.  Every time. I want the works to feel like performances, and entertain.

A new tote from FJ's new collection. I want this to be real so I can jump into the stores and houses.


11) And finally, it’s so hard these days for young entrepreneurs to make a splash and get noticed.  What is your advice to the people out there taking a risk and trying to do something on their own?
Have an idea that sticks out.  The message, the vibe, the overall concept has to be fresh, and the best way to present that is in a non-pretentious, non-jaded manner.  I wanted to start this whole thing young because I believe my ideas now are so unaffected; they are so virgin on so many levels.  I always have high school students in their teens help me with fashion shoots or intern for me because what they have to say or what they have to present is so valuable.  You can’t get that anywhere else.  But take the risk.  You may have a lot to lose, and you may not have the means, but if you feel in your gut you want something, you will always get it.  And you have to fight.
If you love what you see (and I have no doubt you do!) you can find Francesca Joy at:
or you can shop her items at
Thanks so much for the interview Elise!  And keep up the amazing work.  This summer I will definitely be hitting up the beach with a FJ tote.

Bigger Than My Body

After a quick visit home to CT last week, I hurried back up to Boston for another interview with Chi Chi.  I may finally get a job where I can take the T to work, rather than drive through Boston during rush hour.  This is a major relief for me.  I enjoy public transportation (I am a certified people watcher and public transit is the Mecca of strangeness) and taking the T will save me a buttload of money.  That said, the day of my interview was freezing cold, and the center of the city was even colder (wind whipping in between those tall building).  Because the interview at Chi Chi would once again be with new people I was planning on wearing my one and only item from Chi Chi, the cotton candy couture shirt.  Unfortunately, it was too cold to even consider a one shoulder top, so I opted for a plain long sleeve shirt beneath a furry vest.  Basically, it was a win outfit and one that was Chi Chi approved.  I believe the interview went well, and I should be hearing back any day now.  This job will pay slightly more than my job now and it will include the opportunity to be a keyholder at the store.  Yay, responsibility!

Interviewers love it when you show up with some hair on your chest

School starts this week, but today I am back in CT until my classes begin on Thursday.  So let’s talk health.  It’s an abrupt change in conversation, but I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office this week.  I have a freaky medical condition right now (nothing too serious, hopefully) and it was so bizarre that I didn’t mention it to anyone for 2 years.  I’ll give you guys a hint: it involves my boobies!  That’s as much as I’m going to talk about the actual symptoms, but I just want to talk about being out of college and health issues.  I’m a pretty healthy gal; I work out 4-5 times a week, my diet is fairly balanced, and I love to get myself some sleep.  Usually I will be the first person at my doctor’s office when something goes wrong, but this time I was so embarrassed by what was going on that I kept my mouth shut.  Then a week ago my mom, my friend The Artist, and I were in my kitchen discussing boobs and I decided it was time I told someone what was up.

So I showed my mom my freaky boob thing (it’s nothing gross, I promise!) and she was angry that I hadn’t said something sooner.  So I’ve been bouncing back and forth to figure out what the heck is going on.  I can say I’m lucky enough to have health coverage, which many post graduates can’t claim to have.  So in that regard I’m not paying tons of money each time I have to go to a doctor’s office.  But my co-pay did go up this year from $20 to $35.  That shit is getting expensive!

I wonder how much the co-pay is to see Dr.Horrible (sorry, nerd joke!)

But I guess I just want to touch on the fact that no matter what your coverage is like, GO TO THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE IF SOMETHING IS WRONG!  I know that’s easier said than done, but just think of it this way: The longer you wait, the worse the problem will probably get, and then you’ll just have to pay more.  Just sayin’.  I didn’t tell anyone about this because it was just a freak anomaly and it wasn’t effecting my health in any way, but it could be a symptom of something else.  I wish I had mentioned it two years ago when I first noticed the problem.  I tend to forget that my brain is connected to my body and I love my mind.  So it should follow that I’d want to take care of my body so that mind functions well.  That’s simple logic, but like I said, it’s easy to forget that everything is connected.  We (especially the twenty-somethings) tend to see ourselves as indestructible and bigger than our bodies.  We are not (sorry folks!).

On a sidenote because I have to go get my boobies examined I finally got asked a memorable question on the phone: “Do you have breast implants?”.  I actually giggled and then realized the question was being asked seriously.  I cleared my throat and said “Definitely not!”.  I tried to imagine what I’d look like with breast implants and then that made me laugh more.  I’m pretty sure the receptionist thinks I’m mentally ill.  Oh well.

Not in my body, por favor!

And stay tuned, because very VERY soon I will have an interview with the founder of Francesca Joy Palm Beach, Elise Francesca.  She’s a friend of mine from college and she agreed to let me interview her about her company.  But enough about that, you’ll have to check back to see all the info about Elise.

And now, to leave you with a John Mayer song, because of course the title to my post is a song title and I need to include the video.  Does anyone else miss his biting social commentary on twitter?!  Oh how I wish his highly inflated egotistical self would return to us.  But seriously, the man can play guitar.


Just a photo

Just putting up a photo of the Prudential building in Boston! Everything was so cold and blue yesterday, but more about that later. Stay warm, y’all!

20120115-140805.jpg


A Loss of Independence

Hey guys!  Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. for the past couple days.  I’ve been living my life (so I can write about life).  I’ve had some pretty nice things happen in the last few days so I’ll launch into those before I get to the juicy stuff.

On Friday night I went out with my friend the Exasperated Graduate and a large group of friends to celebrate the drinking portion of his birthday.  Needless to say, I enjoyed many a drink that night.  It may even be possible to say overindulged, as did EG.  I had a lot of fun though.  We went out to Harvard Square where we had sake bombs at a Korean restaurant (irony, anyone?) and that was my first time doing one.  Let me tell you, they are delicious.  Then we went to a bar, then we went to Hong Kong and ate food.  It was a good time for all.

Saturday I spent most of the day recovering from the massive hangover by eating as much greasy food as I could get my hands on and by the time I was ready for bed, I felt better.

Sunday I went into work at 6:30am to do inventory at my store, which took a total of 3 hours.

Pretty uneventful overall but some exciting things did occur.  I signed up for my grad school classes.  One of them sounds god awful, to be honest.  “Issues in Teaching and Learning for Middle and High School Teachers” sounds like a class made to make me recall how miserable middle school was.  It really does sound painful.  My first assignment has already been handed out (official start date is January 19th) and it’s about understanding adolescent minds and the problems young adults face.  Yes, I forgot how NO ONE understands you when you’re between the ages of 11-17 and how important it is to give your teachers hell because no one wants to sit at the lunch table with you (true story…).  Anyway, I’m really kidding.  I think the psychology behind young people is pretty interesting albiet dark and twisted.

And here I was thinking Laguna Beach was teaching me the "dos and don'ts" of adolescence

On an even more plentiful note (for my wallet), I just scheduled ANOTHER interview with Chi Chi to work at the “flagship” store in Boston.  So…that’s going to be exciting.  I have until Saturday to practice my best retail shit eating grin.  I think it’s damn near perfect.  I definitely will be wearing the cotton candy shirt that I wore to my last Chi Chi interview.  It’s the only thing I own by the brand (a fact no one needs to know).  Now onto the good stuff.

Boston is a pretty cool city and one of the best things about it is that it still has a lot of privately owned, independent shops.  Some of them have been around for a couple centuries, because of there’s one thing Bostonians appreciate it’s history and preserving it, no matter how old and musty it gets.  The more mildew, the better.  I used to live in Jamaica Plain, which is essentially the Brooklyn of Boston.  Yes, that’s right, hipsters galore.  And IRONICALLY they all lived near the Sam Adams brewery (get off at the Stony Brook stop on the orange line and you’ll see what I mean).  The nifty thing about JP is that many of the shops in its center and most certainly the restaurants are all independent and local.  There’s a super fun toy store of the main street that looks like loads of fun to browse around in.

Now that I live elsewhere in Boston I get to explore all new stores and one of the coolest ones in Brighton is shutting down.  This saddens me.  The store is called Diskovery and it’s on Washington Street.  It’s a used book/music store and it’s full of lost treasures.  You just have to take the time to pick through everything.  Literally, there are mountains of books perched precariously against one another, but there are some killer reads in there.  And some killer records.  The owner, this tiny little lady in a newsboy cap, loves to play funky music, and some of her records are worth picking through.  She has some original Beatles and Rolling Stones records.  The best mess you will ever pick through

You could get lost in this store...literally

Like I said before, the store is really messy, but the sections of stacks are organized into general categories (I even noticed an anthropology corner).  I usually hunker down into the fiction area, though she has some pretty cool books about New England and her science fiction stack is rad.  Maybe my favourite thing about the store, however are the posters and cutouts that are all over the place.  I really want the Rolling Stones one on the window, but I’m afraid to ask.

I want Mick Jagger on and around my wall

After asking the owner a couple questions last time I was in I discovered that she will be open for at least another 2-3 months.  I highly recommend you hit this place up if you’re in Boston, and the sooner the better before all the really cool stuff (did I mention she has some old old books) disappears.  And if you don’t believe me check out the yelp page for this store because all the customers seem to love it.  The address is 569 Washington St Brighton, MA.  And for the future, if you have a used or independent bookstore near you, try to use it as often as possible.  Usually the owners can recommend pretty good reads and really help you find some interesting stuff.  If you don’t start helping these places out, we’ll loose them.

Even Elvis wants you to listen to me:

I ain't nothin' but a hound dog...for these books!


It’s the Little Things in Life (Like Greasy Chinese Food)

This week has been pretty blase, to say the least.  Mostly uneventful with hints on excitement.  But I suppose that’s just the way things go.  Wednesday was my friend, The Exasperated Graduate’s, birthday.  Usually people take you out to eat on your b-day and buy you massive amounts of alcohol, but The Exasperated Graduate decided that this year everyone was coming to his house and he was cooking for us.  And the verdict has been reached that EG is a fantastic/spectacular cook.  He confided in me that he wasn’t too stoked about the food, but I woke up the next morning full (in a good way) and rubbed my food baby all night until I drifted off to sleep.  That’s a sign of excellent culinary skills, in my book.  He made everyone beef wellington (it’s food like this that makes my heart ache for vegetarians), which is in it’s simplest form marinated beef tenderloin wrapped in a puff pastry.  It would be what I would want to eat if I were on death row and it was time for my last supper.

Never, in a million years, could I be a vegetarian

This morning I was woken up by the two emotionally unstable cats I’m petsitting right now.  I say unstable because I’ve never met two more cuddly and affectionate cats in the world and quite frankly, this makes me uneasy.  Aren’t cats supposed to be aloof and mysterious?  These cats sprawl out over my face in the morning and coo sweet purring melodies into my ear.  If I am sitting they are crawling all over me.  Also, these cats have the largest litter box in the world.  It’s the size and shape of a freaking igloo. It’s also making my room smell like ass…cat ass.  But at the end of the day they are so sweet that I simply have to embrace them and lovingly squeeze their little faces.

Moving on, when I got home from work today and crammed greasy Chinese food into my maw I started to chew on some other thoughts as well.  The first thing I thought was “Damn!  Hoy Hing makes some bomb Hot and Sour soup.  I want to marry their cook and eat this every day”.  Then as my thoughts drifted away from food I realized that some people have skills I will never have.  Some people are phenomenal cooks (like the Exasperated Graduate) or super crazy artists (like my friend The Artist or my other friend Take Away Lady).  Others are good with logic (The Lawful Poet can reason anyone under the table) or use their math and science skills to impress the ladies (The Engineer or The Rugby Rascal).  The only problem with most of these talents is that usually you will never work a job that showcases your best skills or allows you to use them exactly how you’d like to.  Unless, of course, you create your own job.

Whoever whips up this Hot and Sour soup has nasty good skillz (with a Z!)

So how can all of us post graduates put our best abilities to use?  The name of the game these days seems to be to keep it creative. Maybe you really like music.  Let’s be real, the chances of you making it big time are pretty slim but there are things you can do to still be involved.  If you know you have an ear for what sounds good, see if you can promote local bands or do some booking for them.  Maybe you can create a long standing relationship with a club or bar and have a music night hosted by you at the location.  The bar gets the money from the people coming in to hear the band and you get the publicity.  Then expand from there. It’s all trial and error.

That’s just one example.  I suggest this because, at heart, I’m a writer and being a writer is like being a musician.  Chances are the big time is not coming my way anytime soon and the spotlight will never fully shine on me.  But maybe the blogosphere will.  I started this site thinking that post graduate life kind of sucks and I’m not the only person feeling this way.  Maybe this site will catch on, maybe it won’t, but I’m having fun writing it and I do get to make my own job (though I wish I were earning some dough).

But that’s the thing.  Even if it gets you nowhere, doing something creative and out of the box gives you experience.  It may not be perfect but chances are you will walk away feeling accomplished.  Starting something on your own takes guts and that initial risk may seem scary as hell, but failure can be just as fun as success.  Besides,  no one said that success leads to immediate hiring.  Being a innovator and taking a chance (and possibly failing) are just as impressive in a job interview as someone who is the epitome of perfection.

And on that note I have two things to say.  After I finished stuffing large quantities of lo mein into my pie hole I broke out my fortune cookie.  I snapped that mother open and tossed the cookie into the trash (does anyone on Earth eat those cookies?  They are always stale!) and vigourously read my fortune.  I was quite pleased with the result and I’m hoping this doesn’t just apply to me, but to all the Nefarious Graduates out there.  I may even go so far as to say that I really do believe this is the year of the post graduate.  I think things are going to turn around for all of us this year:

Change

"Change is happening in your life, so go with the flow!"

And last bit of newness.  I think I’m going to ask my friend who started her own company to do an interview for my blog.  As in, I want to interview her because I think she’s really interesting and has a stellar company for someone so young.  She’s one of those people who manages to think outside of the box and she formed something of her own.  So, perhaps the next entry will be focused on someone new!


Food and Cupcakes

First and foremost, Happy New Year everybody!  I’m sure most of you have already broken your resolutions but it’s a-ok, just devise new ones.  I won’t tell!  I did NYE on the cheap this year, going out for a cheap bite with my friends and then grabbing a six-pack of Original Sin hard cider and heading to a house party.  I’m not going to lie; I almost rang in the New Year playing Kirby’s Adventure on the original Nintendo gaming system.

A Great Way To Spend Your Night

But alas, I broke away from the television screen long enough to see Dick Clark make out with a blonde anchorlady.  Needless to say, everyone was so disgusted by the sight, no one in the room thought to smooch anyone else.  But that’s how I wanted to spend my New Year, watching old people make out with each other.  Hubba Hubba!

Onto the reason for my posting, food and cupcakes.  In particular, really good Italian food and a bakery that doesn’t make any baked goods.  I’ll start with the real food.  My friend, who I shall call The Exasperated Graduate, lives right down the street from me, and he and I will often go exploring around the neighbourhood for excellent places to stuff our faces (oooh, a rhyme!).  One day The Exasperated Graduate decided to go exploring without his Nefarious counterpart and came upon a Italian restaurant that had just opened and was mind-numbingly good.  He said the food was a little pricier than normal but not too bad, and it was worth the extra dollars.

I finally decided it was time I went there on my own.  Now, I’d like to consider myself a Chicken Parmigiana connaisseur, and that is usually how I judge the quality of an Italian restaurant, because honestly, if you can’t make good chicken parm, you shouldn’t be allowed to qualify yourself under that genre of food.  These are my qualifiers: good bread, tasty chicken (not too chewy, not too crunchy), sauce that doesn’t taste like it’s from a can, and delicious cheesy goodness (can’t be swathed in cheese, but it needs a fair amount).

I walked into The Proper Slice and was unsure what to think.  There were a bunch of old guys at the table near the door, and the kitchen staff consisted of some beefy men and a very pretty girl.  I looked at the menu and then stood by the counter.  The beefiest of the cooks turned to me and said “What’ya want?” and cocked his eyebrow.  If I wasn’t in Boston, I would have thought I was in a New York pizzeria.  “Chicken Parm” I demanded and threw my stuff down on the stool near the window.  Five minutes later my order is up and it is piping hot.  I take a bite and fall in love.  If I could marry a grinder (sub, hero, whatever!) I would.  The sandwich was made on the perfect bread, a baguette, and it was crispy warm bread, then came the layer of gooey cheese, but it didn’t overpower the sauce, which was seasoned perfectly, and finally, the chicken.  Oh My God!  The Chicken!  It was tender, juicy, with a crispy outside, and had just the right amount of crunch and chew.  Basically, I was in heaven.  I’ve heard The Proper Slice has some properly good pizza too.  I’ll definitely going back there to get some.  If you live in Boston it is most certainly worth checking out.  I’d say it’s the best pizza I’ve had outside the North End.  And if you don’t believe me, check out their yelp page.

The Proper Slice is Worth a Proper Minute of Your Time

And finally, the bakery that isn’t a bakery.  Johnny Cupcakes was something I mentioned in my last post and I said I’d get around to explaining it.  Basically, it is a T-shirt shop that looks and sells like a bakery.  It’s totally cool and has become one of the niche brands to make a name for itself in Boston and outside of Boston as well.  The original store is in Hull, Mass, but Johnny has expanded to Newbury Street Boston, Los Angeles, and London.  What Johnny does is replace pop culture items with cupcakes and every shirt he makes is limited edition, limited run.  So once they are made, you need to buy it or you’ll never see it again.  It’s pretty awesome.  I met Johnny last year at an entrepreneurship award ceremony and A) he’s a super nifty dude and B) he has a really interesting and fun philosophy to business.  He’s also outside the box smart, which is the hardest kind of smart to be.  His shirts are fun and humourous and you can see that the people who work in his store really love working for him.

Newbury Street Store. A Dozen to go, please?

I always said that you’re not a proper Bostonian until you own a Johnny Cupcakes shirt, simply because he is one of the few innovative stores to really thrive in the retail district that is Newbury Street.  Plus, he’s a Massachusetts native, so rocking his tees are rocking homestate (or adoptive state?) pride.  The shirts are all made in the USA and are 100% sweatshop free so that’s another reason to sport one.  And without further ado, here’s Johnny!